The majority of people in prison and jail have a substance use disorder. Despite the promise demonstrated by some treatment programs for people who are incarcerated, just a fraction of the people who need services for substance abuse receive it. Connecting people incarcerated to treatment programs proven to be effective, prioritizing resources for those nearing release, and encouraging community-based aftercare will ensure better outcomes for people released from prisons and jails, and the communities to which they return.

Substance Abuse FAQs

Providing answers on relevant topics concerning Mental Health, Health and Substance Abuse topics.

Recent Posts

Reentry Essentials: Prioritizing Treatment for Substance Addictions

Reentry Essentials: Prioritizing Treatment for Substance Addictions

A large proportion of people in the criminal justice system have substance addictions. While there is an overwhelming need to provide effective treatment, challenges exist in quantifying the extent of that need, providing appropriate treatment programming, and taking a strategic approach across systems.

The Guidance Center Releases Free Roll Call Mental Health Training Series for Police Departments Across the Country

The Guidance Center Releases Free Roll Call Mental Health Training Series for Police Departments Across the Country

A new series of free web-based training modules that provide officers with effective tools for readily recognizing signs of mental illness and interacting with people who may be in crisis has been produced through a partnership between The Guidance Center (a nonprofit child and family mental health service provider) and the Los Angeles Police Department, the Long Beach Police Department, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Groundbreaking 50-State Report on Public Safety Updated with 2017 Data

Groundbreaking 50-State Report on Public Safety Updated with 2017 Data

The CSG Justice Center has released an updated version of the 50-State Report on Public Safety that includes 2017 crime and arrest data. The report is a web-based resource that combines extensive data analyses, case studies and recommended strategies from all 50 states to help policymakers address their state’s specific public safety challenges.

North Dakota Explores Expanding Alternatives to Incarceration and Behavioral Health Services for People in the Criminal Justice System

North Dakota Explores Expanding Alternatives to Incarceration and Behavioral Health Services for People in the Criminal Justice System

At a recent North Dakota Justice Reinvestment Oversight Committee meeting, CSG Justice Center staff highlighted recent decreases in prison admissions that resulted from alcohol and drug offenses and probation revocations. These declines seem to be the cause of a 6.5-percent drop in the state’s total prison population in FY2018, which exceeded expectations, and have reinforced the state’s efforts to increase behavioral health services for people in the criminal justice system.

Stepping Up Initiative Expands Push for Counties to Collect Data on Number of People in Jails Who Have Mental Illnesses

Stepping Up Initiative Expands Push for Counties to Collect Data on Number of People in Jails Who Have Mental Illnesses

The Stepping Up initiative recently launched a national effort to help counties collect accurate, accessible data on the number of people entering their jails who have mental illnesses. As part of the effort, seven rural and urban “Innovator Counties” have been selected as models for their expertise in accurately identifying these individuals and consistently collecting data on them.

Announcements

Apply Now: Sequential Intercept Mapping Workshops and Trauma-Informed Responses Train-the-Trainer Events

Apply Now: Sequential Intercept Mapping Workshops and Trauma-Informed Responses Train-the-Trainer Events

The SAMHSA’s GAINS Center is soliciting applications from communities for two national technical assistance opportunities: (1) Sequential Intercept Mapping (SIM) Workshops to identify ways that could reduce barriers between the criminal justice and behavioral health systems and begin development of integrated local strategic action plans, and (2) Train-The-Trainer (TTT) events about trauma-informed responses in criminal justice settings.

Webinars

2018 Second Chance Act Orientation for Reentry for Adults with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Illness Grant Program

In this webinar, representatives from the NRRC, along with staff from BJA, provide an overview of the Second Chance Act’s Reentry for Adults with Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Illness (CSAMI) grant program and explain the training and technical assistance opportunities that are available to grantees, including the Planning & Implementation Guide, and other resources available to grantees.

Addressing the Needs of Veterans in the Criminal Justice System

Addressing the Needs of Veterans in the Criminal Justice System

This webinar provides an overview of national estimates of incarcerated veterans; explains components of the Veterans Health Administration’s veterans justice programs; expands awareness of the needs of veterans in the justice system; and discusses new developments in the Veterans Administration and community interventions to provide services to veterans in the justice system.

Best Practices in Screening and Assessment for People with Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System

Best Practices in Screening and Assessment for People with Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders in the Criminal Justice System

This webinar features Roger Peters, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy at the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, University of South Florida. The webinar discusses the prevalence of co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders among people involved in the criminal justice system, as well as effective screening and assessment instruments to use with this population.

Publications

Best Practices for Successful Reentry for People Who Have Opioid Addictions

Best Practices for Successful Reentry for People Who Have Opioid Addictions

This fact sheet from the National Reentry Resource Center describes the best practices that correctional, community-based behavioral health, and probation and parole agencies can implement within their systems to ensure reentry for people who have opioid addictions is safe and successful.

Behavioral Health Justice Reinvestment in Oregon: Overview

Behavioral Health Justice Reinvestment in Oregon: Overview

This publication outlines the scope of a Behavioral Health Justice Reinvestment approach in Oregon to develop a statewide policy framework to help support tribal government, county, and local systems in improving recidivism and health outcomes for the small but important group of people who repeatedly cycle through the public safety and health systems.

Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program Resource Center

Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program Resource Center

This resource center is an online clearinghouse of information, training, and other resources that support a variety of state, local, and tribal users, including BJA COAP grantees, policymakers, partner agencies and associations, peer recovery coaches, and families affected by the nationwide opioid epidemic.

Removing Obstacles to Eliminating Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Behavioral Health Care

Removing Obstacles to Eliminating Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Behavioral Health Care

This tip sheet from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service’s GAINS Center draws on research that has implications for people of racial and ethnic minority backgrounds who have mental illnesses or substance addictions who often face substantial barriers to accessing community-based services prior to their justice involvement.

Journal for Advancing Justice

Journal for Advancing Justice

This new journal from the National Association of Drug Court Professionals is dedicated to the topic of identifying and rectifying racial, ethnic, and gender disparities in treatment courts.

Home, Together: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

Home, Together: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness

This publication from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness lays out a plan for ending homelessness that focuses on identifying and describing essential federal strategies to build effective, lasting systems that aim to work both in the present and to be able to respond quickly and efficiently when housing instability and homelessness occur in the future.

Recent headlines

Out of Prison, but Struggling for Health Care

“People that are healthy are more likely to be able to find work,” said Tom Betti, press secretary for the Ohio Department of Medicaid. “In the long run that saves taxpayer dollars. They are healthier, employed and not reincarcerated.”

New Criminal Justice Reforms Are Rerouting People Who Don’t Belong in the System

State and local policymakers are turning their attention from the back end of the criminal justice system—who goes to prison and for how long—to the front end. They are focusing on helping people avoid involvement in the system altogether, rerouting those who get caught up in it but don’t belong, and helping those already involved from getting in even deeper.

Majority of Polk County Inmates Receiving Mental Health Services

The county offers a crisis call line through Northwest Connections, which is a third-party organization the county’s mental health unit contracts with to handle the county’s crisis call work. This allows the county 24/7, 365-day coverage for crisis calls and is used in the jail.

New Jersey’s Recidivism Rate Plummets 19 Percent over past Six Years

In this recent study, the National Reentry Resource Center and the Council of State Governments Justice Center study looked at New Jersey and 10 other states with significant declines in their three-year return-to-prison rates. New Jersey’s rate dropped from a high of 37 percent in 2007 to 29.8 percent in 2013, according to the most current data available.

Workshop Highlights Mental Health and Substance Disorders in Jails

Key agency administrators, staff, and consumer advocates from the mental health, substance abuse, and criminal justice system in Scotts Bluff County participated in Sequential Intercept Mapping which focused strategic planning efforts on cross-systems collaboration and the reduction of system and service barriers with an integrated, local action plan.